Back to Reality

As a traveller, I have come to accept that occasionally, when discussing imminent trips with others, one may be met with raised eyebrows, thorough interrogation regarding how you intend to fund this extravagance, lectures on the dangers of the big, bad world and ultimately disapproval. Then comes the guilt. The self-doubt. What am I doing with my life? I’m twenty-three, I should have been employed for at least two years by now and I’m letting society down by not getting a mortgage and squeezing out a couple of kids! It can sometimes feel like the eyes of everyone in your life are on you, and they’re waiting impatiently for you to give up messing about and …get back to reality.

But here’s the thing. I don’t see day after endless day of monotony, or a life of soulless routine as reality. It is of course the unfortunate norm for most of us, most of the time. But it’s just an existence. And in many ways, a denial.

How often do you complain of boredom, about your job or lack of social life? For me, the answer is quite often (and of late, it has been a daily occurence). But how often do you remind yourself that you have the power to escape this and start living? We really do have a choice in the matter…we just often lack the courage to do anything about it.

I’m not saying I’m truly ‘enlightened’. Nor am I saying that working a 9-5 office job means you’re boring. I simply want to reverse our perceptions of what this true ‘reality’ is. Personally I have never felt more alive than when I’m breathing fresh salty air, navigating the labyrinthine streets of an unknown town, taking in new sight upon new sight. Challenging my own views on a daily basis, building bridges with people I would never otherwise interact with, constant physical and mental activity, language learning and absorption of cultures – this is what I gain from travelling. I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of.

I love travelling so much because it feels like I am at the mercy of some higher power. It can be dangerous, but the world is what it is and what will be will be. This sentiment, although deemed reckless by many, feels to me like freedom. The irony is that I am the world’s biggest stresshead. Worrying is more likely to be the death of me than the freak bungee accident my mum fears. So escaping that struggle with anxiety and immersing myself in a new perception of life is a nourishing and fulfilling experience; travel feeds my soul far better than a Starbucks and night in front of Britain’s Got Talent. So if living and loving life in this way isn’t reality…

I’m going to keep living the dream.

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